During a recent meeting the topic of customer service reared its head again. We had just returned from Sydney and were bemoaning the fact the customer service was no better in Sydney than it had been in Melbourne. Perhaps it’s just the coffee shops we go to or as it was pointed out perhaps it is due to miscommunication problems that many organisations, be they big or small seem to have in abundance.

The discussion moved to the issue of communication and credibility. It was pointed out that poor customer service was not adding to the credibility of the business. An important factor in any business is its credibility factor. The credibility of its product performing to the standards claimed, the credibility of the services offered, the credibility of the staff when dealing with clients and stakeholders and the credibility of management dealing with staff. It boils down to the perception of the business in the community… just how much do you as a customer or client believe that the business will do what it says it can do!

Take for example the poor lamented coffee shop in Sydney… the service we received was poor – due in the main to the staff’s lack of communication skills. We were escorted to a table and left there – there was no communication as to how we should order or were we should order from. Being left to our own devices we finally managed to catch a waitress’s eye. The communication standard here was no better… a lot of mumbled responses, shrugs and raised eyebrows. Well I suppose the body language worked as we got the definite impression that she would rather be anywhere else but there. The credibility factor for this business was virtually zero. Where was our belief that we would get good service and further there was no incentive for us to return to that coffee shop? Now we may be doing this business a disservice – it may in fact be a great place to spend an hour sipping coffee and talking. However, the poor communication skills underlying the poor customer service impacted on the credibility of this business.

The impact communication has on an organisation’s credibility can be devastating in terms of productivity and community perception. What is even more devastating is the organisation may not even be aware of the cause of its problems. Too often the soft skills of personal communication are brushed aside when an organisation puts together its training for the year. Stopping for a few minutes and taking into account just how much personal communication impacts on all facets of an organisation and putting steps in place to ensure that personal communication skills are developed will directly impact positively on the organisation’s credibility.

Knowing that effective communication requires a balance between intellectual content and emotional connection; that your body language needs to support your message, that you need to be concise, competent and clear in your answers to questions will add value and support an organisation’s credibility. Being able to communicate clearly impacts on customer service. In fact just being able to communicate verbally helps!

Next time you have an issue with an organisation’s credibility whether it be with the service you receive, instructions from management or contact on the telephone; take a moment to think what improved communication skills could have done to increase that organisation’s credibility.

Don’t let your organisation be like our poor lamented coffee shop…suffering decline in customers due to poor customer service and lack of credibility. Take steps to improve your communication skills and your credibility.

Trish@ Trischel

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